Want to live longer, smarter, and happier? Eat a hamburger.

Maybe I’m beating a dead horse, here. But when the truth comes under fire, I feel obligated to defend it. Especially since mainstream news outlets almost never see fit to do the same.

A couple of weeks ago, they were issuing hellfire and brimstone headlines about the lethal consequences of high protein diets. (If you missed it, you can catch up here.)

And yet I didn’t hear a peep about the study that showed the significant benefits of red meat for older women.  Or the one I want to share with you today—which revealed the serious perks of animal protein for older men, too.

Researchers followed more than 1,000 Japanese subjects with an average age of 67 for a full seven years. During that time, nearly a quarter of them reported declines in physical, social, and psychological functioning.

But men with the highest animal protein intake had 39 percent lower odds of this decline, compared to men with the lowest intake of animal protein. (Plant protein, however, didn’t offer any consistent benefits.)

This research speaks directly to one of modern society’s most urgent challenges. People are living longer than ever today. I see a number of patients who are in their 80s and 90s. And I often have to look at their chart just to confirm how old they are. Because in general, they’re spry and healthy compared to their peers.

And by their peers, I mean pretty much every other senior citizen in this country. Yes, they’re living longer, too. But they’re not necessarily living better. And their extra years are often marked by disability and chronic illness.

Why? Well for one thing, as you age, your body loses its ability to effectively process certain foods and absorb critical nutrients.  Your protein requirements increase with age, too.

And again, there’s just no substitute for animal protein.

So if it means you get a few more good years out of the deal, well… I’d call that cheese omelet or steak dinner a no-brainer, wouldn’t you?



“Animal Protein Intake Is Associated with Higher-Level Functional Capacity in Elderly Adults: The Ohasama Study.” J Am Geriatr Soc. 2014 Feb 27.